All that day Keith Macleod was in despair. As for himself, he would have had sufficient joy in the mere consciousness of the presence of this beautiful creature. His eyes followed her with a constant delight; whether she took up a book, or examined the cunning spring of a sixteenth-century dagger, or turned to the dripping panes. He would have been content even to sit and listen to Mr. White sententiously lecturing Lady Macleod about the Renaissance, knowing that from time to time those beautiful, tender eyes would meet his. But what would she think of it? Would she consider this the normal condition of life in the Highlands—this being boxed up in an old-fashioned room, with doors and windows firmly closed against the wind and the wet, with a number of people trying to keep up some sort of social intercourse, and not very well succeeding? She had looked at the portraits in the dining-hall—looming darkly from their black backgrounds, though two or three were in resplendent uniforms; she had examined all the trophies of the chase—skins, horns, and what not—in the outer corridor; she had opened the piano, and almost started back from the discords produced by the feebly jangling old keys.
“You do not cultivate music much,” she had said to Janet Macleod, with a smile.
“No,” answered Janet, seriously. “We have little use for music here—except to sing to a child now and again, and you know you do not want a piano for that.”